HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewPinball FX - Williams Pinball: Whirlwind Review

Pinball FX – Williams Pinball: Whirlwind Review

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Zen Studios have already amassed a decent amount of digitally reproduced real-world tables from the Williams pinball back-catalogue in Pinball FX, and now there’s another looking to blow the competition away. Get ready to feel the power of the wind as the Williams Pinball: Whirlwind table has drifted into Pinball FX for a rather modest fee.

Will the Pinball FX – Williams Pinball: Whirlwind be able to satisfy the veteran crowd hoping for an authentic recreation of the original, while also drawing in those unfamiliar with the classics?

Pinball FX - Williams Pinball: Whirlwind Review pic
Williams Pinball: Whirlwind full table view

The Whirlwind table was produced way back in 1990 by Williams, with the infamous Pat Lawlor in charge of its design. You may recognise the name Pat Lawlor as he also created The Addams Family, FunHouse, Safecracker, and Twilight Zone tables, amongst many more. Therefore, Whirlwind should be another innovative offering from the serial creator; especially with a storm at the heart of its concept.

Focusing on the positives first, and the table layout gets things off to a great start due to a nice open playfield. This is ideal because having a decent space above the main flippers allows a little extra time to react to the incoming ball and plan the next shot. To complement that, the upper portion is full of pinball staples to hit, including two ramps, a spinner, the outlanes, and various drop and stand-up targets. In order to reach everything, a third flipper is positioned at the top right, which is handy. 

There’s virtually nothing to complain about in regards to the layout, until you factor in the quirkiest feature – spinning discs.

The three spinning discs – or the tricky twirly whirly trio as I call them – lie dormant in the centre of the playfield. When triggered by performing certain shots, these discs go into overdrive and rotate rapidly, which throws up a real curveball. Quite literally, the predicted path of the ball is skewed whether it’s on its way down to the flippers or you’ve just smacked it towards the upper parts. Initially, there’s a novelty to the sheer unpredictability, however it soon becomes a regular reason the ball heads down the drain.

Pinball FX - Williams Pinball: Whirlwind Review pic 2
The special effects won’t exactly blow you away!

In a bid to counteract the chance of that happening, a small peg is situated right between, and slightly below, the main flippers. It definitely helps matters and lessens any frustration, if you know how to make the best use of the peg. And then you can just enjoy everything else Whirlwind offers like, erm, well, I’m not sure really. It’s actually a bit slim on other interesting features.

Beyond the usual opportunities to gain higher scores through combos and activating the multiball frenzy, there’s only the storm itself. Safely navigating its passing over the playfield is a task that you may or may not be up to, but that’s your lot. To be fair, Whirlwind is a faithful recreation and so it’s to be expected with a table over three decades old. 

Zen Studios do have some optional special effects to layover the top of proceedings to try and enhance the experience. You know, a simple way to modernise the table without compromising on what made it popular to begin with. Unfortunately, the wispy tornado, downpour of rain, and spinning disc sparks don’t do anything of the sort. It actually cheapens the overall look, so I imagine the majority of players will stick with the classic visuals.

Pinball FX - Williams Pinball: Whirlwind Review pic 3
Spinning discs preparing to cause havoc

On the whole, praise has to be given for reproducing another Williams offering from yesteryear in Pinball FX and the Williams Pinball: Whirlwind table layout is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Even though the spinning discs are crazy, it’s hard to be too critical on the most interesting feature. Sadly it’s lacking in anything else to keep coming back for, while the fresh new special effects are underwhelming.

The Pinball FX – Williams Pinball: Whirlwind table is a nice addition for the collection, but it’s probably not exciting enough for the casual crowd.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Excellently recreated
  • Great layout
  • Twirly whirly spinning discs
Cons:
  • Not enough modes or features
  • Special effects are sub-par
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Zen Studios
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC
  • Release date and price - 8 June 2023 | £4.59
James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Excellently recreated</li> <li>Great layout</li> <li>Twirly whirly spinning discs</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Not enough modes or features</li> <li>Special effects are sub-par</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Zen Studios</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC <li>Release date and price - 8 June 2023 | £4.59</li> Pinball FX - Williams Pinball: Whirlwind Review
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